Grateful Dead – Santa Clara CA : June 27,28 2015

Day 2

OK, so my two Grateful Dead concert fest in San Francisco is over… I am actually sad that I won’t be able to see them or experience the people of Dead Head community again. I went to the show, wanting to make sure that I was able to experience this 50th anniversary event and to say that I have seen the Grateful Dead, and I feel like I am leaving an actual Deadhead. I got to meet so many friendly and special people of all types. It was truly amazing to be around so many people who were just good with themselves, good with the people around them and good with the world. It might sound corny or contrived, but this concert was much more than I expected and very much a once in a lifetime event for me. Kris, Cindy, Dave…if you are reading this, I thank you for hanging with me in section 114 row 23 for two days…have fun in Chicago, and sorry I won’t be there to experience the real last Dead show with you all. It’s funny, because this show of 65,000 people reminds me of the energy of a 600 person, small venue metal show I go to with Nicki and Ryan…same amount of passion with everyone singing, dancing and giving the band as much as they can, except at 10 fold…really amazing.

I actually spent a little more time in the VIP lounge tonight than I did last night…I found out that as part of my “package” the food was free (Bratwurst, Sandwiches, Hamburgers, Nachos,  Veggie dishes and deserts) and I did a little over indulgence in the food tonight, where is was Merch last night.

Tonights show seemed much more polished than last nights, although the concert lasted about the same amount of time, they broke the sets up a little more evenly and played a good mix of hits and jams during both. It was almost completely different set of songs, except for Drums which I am very glad they played both nights. It’s funny how many of the songs I remember when I hear them. I actually didn’t think I knew so many of their songs, but they all came back to me from years of listening. I think my favorites of tonight’s show were Sugar Magnolia and Alabama Getaway but of course Hell in a Bucket and Loose Lucy were also great performances…heck all of the songs they played tonight were awesome, who I am kidding… I need to hear more !

Once again, the lights, colors and stage show were absolutely mesmerizing and I didn’t even “partake” in any of the funky herbs being consumed, although tonight I am sure I must have gotten some residual intake 🙂

Thanks guys for the 50 years and “Fare Thee Well”.

Day 1

Well, made it down to Santa Clara. Took an early flight out of Seattle to get down to Northern Cal. early enough to get settled into the Hotel (Hotel Avante) before heading to the show/experience. It was fun on the flight down…the stewardess asked (over the intercom) how many people on the flight were heading down to the show, and I would say at least 90% of the flight acknowledged, so many that they then asked who wasn’t going to the show (I only saw 1 person in first class.)

Was able to check into the hotel when I got in, which was great as I thought I was going to have to check my luggage and head to the show before getting settled…The Hotel is pretty nice…a little off the beaten path, and about 15-20 minutes from Levi’s Stadium, but the room was good sized, clean and well appointed (even had a etch-a-sketch and Rubik’s cube in the room to doodle with while waiting.

About 3:00, I decided to take the first shuttle bus to the venue so as to avoid the crowds and to try and get there early enough to absorb some of the culture that is a “Dead Show”. But when I got there I was a bit disappointed…no hippie buses, no tent cities or aisles of macrame for sale.. I guess that’s just a thing of the ’60’s, oh well. It took me a while before I found the gate I was supposed to enter, and got into the stadium around 5:30 or so. I immediately went to the merch area where they had a great selection of shirts, pins and posters and over indulged a bit, but when I am going to be to another dead show…got to stock up.

I made it to my seat around 6:30 and did some serious people watching until the show started about 7:30 (give or take). I can never get used to being at shows where the crowd exceeds 60,000 people.. It is just amazing to see that many people all in one place at the same time. I was sitting amongst a very fun bunch of folks..most in the their upper 50’s to lower 60’s…the ladies to my left were true hippies who were just loving life…dancing, singing and constantly smiling…the guy to my right had been to more than a dozen Dead shows. The crowd was just an incredible mix of hippies, hipsters, and everything in between. It was quite an event when a huge rainbow appeared behind the stadium..half the folks in the crowd saw a hippie miracle of Jerry Garcia looking down on the show and the other half saw the sign of affirmation of LGBT in light of recent social events. I have to admit it was amazing timing and was followed by some real cool clouds and weather…even a little rain.

The Grateful Dead opened up the show with Trucking’ followed by Uncle John’s Band. The stage wasn’t much, but WOW did they have a wonderful light and color show. They played for about an hour before taking a break and starting back up about an hour later. It was my first Grateful Dead show, so all I had to look forward to was what I have heard over the years, and they did not disappoint in my expectations. They did a number jam session that lasted 30+ minutes, they just played and played. Around 11:00, they played a very funky and lengthy jam session of Drums (drum/ permission and Mickey Hart on the mbira) that lasted more than a half an hour…finally wrapping up the night with the encore song, Casey Jones ending around midnight. Now it’s time for sleep and then another show tomorrow.

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